No water, sewer rate hikes

For the first time in many years, Vandalia residents can expect not to see increases in their water and sewer rates.
That’s because the expenses of the city’s water and sewer departments over the past year do not warrant increases.
In presenting the annual audit report, Dale Timmermann and Tricia Elam also gave a report on the city’s water and sewerage systems.
That reports shows that water system expenses for the year ending April 30 totaled $1,765,070, a .73-percent decrease over the total from the previous year.
Sewerage system expenses for the past year totaled $925,035, a decrease of 5.06 percent from the $974,342 total from the previous year.
Timmermann said that his CPA firm is not recommending rate increases based on those figures and an ordinance approved by the city council in 1996.
The council passed an ordinance 18 years ago that stipulates that should the city see increases in operating those two systems, those increases would automatically be passed on to those hooked up to the systems.
The council, however, has the authority to alter rate increases or not implement any increases.
Aldermen approved that ordinance after it passed a rate increase of more than 15 percent. That increase was needed because the council had gone a number of years without increasing rates, even though its operating costs had been increasing.
In presenting the audit report, Timmermann said that the city is in good shape financially. But, at the same time, he also cautioned city officials.
He said that the city has a surplus of $402,000. “It seems like a lot of money, but you can go through that in a hurry.
“You have to be cautious when you go ahead with future projects,” Timmermann said.
“Overall, I think the city is in a good position, but that can change in a hurry,” he said.
Timmermann said it’s only been several years since the city had to make some tough decisions on its spending, “and those hard decisions usually involve people.”

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